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Anti-idiotypic antibodies as probes of protein active sites: application to cholera toxin subunit B

Anti-idiotypic antibodies as probes of protein active sites: application to cholera toxin subunit B

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 84(11): 3673-3677

Since Jerne proposed a "network" theory of immune regulation, the properties of anti-idiotypic antibodies (anti-IdAb) have been investigated widely. Anti-IdAb raised against antibodies to a variety of ligands have been shown to bind the ligands' receptors. Thus, the combining site of an anti-IdAb may contain information regarding the three-dimensional structure of an antigen. However, this remarkable property of "internal imagery" has not been exploited for structural investigation at the molecular level. In the present report, a monoclonal "auto"-anti-IdAb was raised against ganglioside GM1 (a cell-surface glycolipid that binds cholera toxin) and was shown to crossreact with the B subunit of cholera toxin. This antibody was presumed to recognize amino acid residues located within the GM1 binding domain. To identify these residues, the antibody was screened against homologous toxins purified from enterotoxigenic strains of Escherichia coli and chimeric peptides produced by recombinant methods. Amino acid variation at position 4 from the N terminus of these proteins was found to disrupt antibody binding. Since the toxins and chimera are all closely related in structure and function, the residue at position 4 (an asparagine in cholera toxin B subunit) appears to be in the epitope of the antibody and, by implication, in the GM1 binding site. Of particular significance, this structural detail could not be deduced with GM1 alone. It would seem that ligand and anti-ligand anti-IdAb encode similar stereochemical information but do so with different "chemical alphabets," giving rise to distinct binding specificities.

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Accession: 039290117

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 3473474

DOI: 10.2307/29460

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